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Andrew Douglas






A Scottish soldier in Flanders

Andrew Douglas born c1681, Jedburgh, Roxburgshire, Scotland

Andrew Douglas born c1681 Jedburgh, Roxburgshire was a Gardiner (Gardener) in Jedburgh at least by 1707. It is likely that he had a first marriage in October 1704 to Jennet Jordain and in September 1707 they had a son Robert Douglas. By about 1709 Andrew had married an Unknown Couman/Cowman, likely either Agnes Couman c1679 Jedburgh or Margaret Couman c1686 Jedburgh who were daughters of Thomas Couman born c1650 Jedburgh, a Gardener. It is likely too that James Douglas born c1669 Gardener (later a Burgess) was Andrew’s brother and he had married an Isabel Couman born c1681 Jedburgh, a daughter of the same Thomas Couman c1650 in February,1703 but by June 1710 he had married Jonet Olipher born c1687 Jedburgh .

There was also a John Douglas born c1671-3 Jedburgh Gardener and Jonnet Douglas born c1679 Jedburgh, who were both also likely part of this family - at the sibling level.

James Douglas born c1669 Gardener was a witness at Baptisms of children of both John Douglas and Andrew Douglas.

When Thomas Douglas was baptised in the mid to late 1710 his father Andrew was ‘a soldier fighting in Flanders’. (James Douglas c1669 was a witness at this Baptism).

It appears most probable that Andrew fought with the Scots Greys (named as such because of their use of grey horses) in the period from late 1709 to early 1711.

From the ‘Historical Record of the Royal regiment of Scots dragoons...commonly called the Scots Greys...(British Army) London 1836’ -
* In 1707 they were designated the ‘Royal Regiment of North British Dragoons’.
* After June 1709 “...They...formed part of the covering army during the siege of the strong fortress of Tournay, and after the capture of this place, marched...toward Mons. Advancing through the fruitful valleys of Hainault, the allies came in contact with the French army posted in a fortified camp near Malplaquet, and a sanguinary conflict ensued. The Greys were formed on this occasion in brigade with the royal Irish dragoons, and were commanded by Brigadier General-Sybourg. They were posted near the centre of the allied army to sustain the attacks of the infantry and protect the artillery...(ultimately)...they were ordered to file through a wood in their front, and charge.” Through the woods and trees they went, and on coming out they were met by a line of French cavalry which were ‘soon dispersed’ but there were further lines to contend with ‘clad in armour, and advancing in firm array’. “...The Royal North British and Irish dragoons met these ‘squadrons’ of French cavalry ‘with bravery’ but were outnumbered. They re-grouped and were joined by ‘several corps of horse’ and ‘returned to the charge’...Finally, British valour prevailed, and the enemy retired in disorder. The Greys and royal Irish dragoons...highly distinguished themselves...and were honoured with the thanks of the Duke of Marlborough...The regiment was subsequently employed in covering the siege of Mons...”

*“Early the following spring a remount of a hundred men and horses joined from Scotland.” I am imagining that Andrew Douglas c1681 was part of this new contingent. “in the beginning of April, 1710, the regiment...encamped on some elevated grounds near Tournay...on 20th April, it was again on the march, and formed part of...the allied army which forced the enemy’s fortified lines at Pont-a-Vendin on the 21st, and encamped at night on the plain of Lens. It was afterwards employed in covering the siege of Douay...and was stationed...near Pont-a-Rache...its colonel, the Earl of Stair, was invested by the Duke of Marlborough, with the order of the Thistle...the 10th May(and) the French garrison made a ‘sudden and unexpected sally’...but they were arrested by a ‘squadron of the Greys’, and ‘two squadrons of the royal Irish dragoons’...After the surrender of Douay, the Greys traversed the country of Artois...and encamped before Bethune...which...was immediately besieged...after the capture of Bethune they were engaged...with the sieges of Aire and St Vernant, and were for a short time encamped on the banks of the Lys. The surrender of Aire terminated the campaign, and the regiment was disposed in quarters of in the conquered country”.

* “From these quarters the Greys were withdrawn in the early part of May, 1711...the regiments assembled in French Flanders Warde, from whence they advanced to the plain of Lens. After some skilful manoeuvring, the Duke of Marlborough succeeded in forcing the enemy’s lines by the causeway at Arleux...and besieged Bouchain. The Greys took part in these brilliant achievements...After the surrender of Bouchain, the works of the town were repaired, and the troops separated into winter quarters...”

Of course I will never know what of these specific battles Andrew Douglas c1681 took part in, but the fact that the timeline is officially documented means that I can at least narrow his involvement down to probable battles that he was part of.

From Wikipedia - French Flanders in present day France consists of two regions –
* French Westhoek to the Northwest, lying between the Lys River and the North Sea...
* Lilloise Flanders...(Walloon Flanders) to the southeast, south of the Lys.
The Region of French Flanders was originally part of the feudal Countship of Flanders, then part of the Southern Netherlands and now in present day Belgium.

From Wikipedia - Tournay
* Tournai is located in the lowlands of Belgium, at the southern limit of the Flemish plain...After the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713, under the terms of the treaty of Utrecht the former Spanish Netherlands, including Tounai, came into the possession of the Austrian Hapsburgs. From 1815 on, following the Napoleonic Wars, Tournai formed part of the United Netherlands and after 1830 of newly independent Belgium.

21st January 2013 - Sally E Douglas 


7th October 2014:
Andrew was involved in fortification in the Siege of Tournai

He survived after fighting in Flanders and went back to being a Gardener in Jedburgh

His sons Thomas (2) Douglas 1716 and Andrew Douglas 1720 were both Gardeners in Jedburgh


See also:

  • The Douglas Family in France



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